On August 14, 2019, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Steven Menashi to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Menashi has served as Associate Counsel to the President since September 2018, meaning that he could be one of the unnamed White House attorneys in the whistleblower report who had a hand in covering up Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine that’s at the center of the impeachment inquiry. After the whistleblower complaint was made public, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Menashi a list of questions pertaining to his potential involvement in the Ukraine call coverup, but he refused to answer a single one. He has also refused to say if he was involved in the White House’s effort to conceal the whistleblower complaint from the public. Despite this, Senate Judiciary Republicans voted to advance his nomination to the Senate floor – proving that they are more interested in protecting Donald Trump and corrupting our courts than finding the truth.
From 2017 to 2018, Menashi served as Secretary Betsy DeVos’s general counsel and led the Education Department’s dismantling of Obama-era rules that protected survivors of sexual assault in schools across the country. The department changed the rules after DeVos met with “men’s rights activists” whose organizations have a long history of making misogynistic statements and lobbying to roll back services for survivors of abuse. The new rules, which Menashi was closely involved in drafting, strip sexual assault survivors of the protections the Obama rules had guaranteed, and make it much more difficult for schools to hold perpetrators accountable.
As a White House lawyer, Menashi participates in the Immigration Strategic Working Group led by Steven Miller—architect of the administration’s worst immigration policies including family separation, forced detention, and ending DACA. The timing of this nomination, coming amid a rise in domestic terrorism incidents inspired by Trump’s racist rhetoric, could not be more disturbing.
Earlier in his career, Menashi wrote a law review article that “argues that ethnonationalism remains a common and accepted feature of liberal democracy that is consistent with current state practice and international law.” He added, “Liberal democracy requires a national community if it is to become more than an ineffectual abstraction.”
Watch Rachel Maddow’s segment on Menashi:
Menashi was also a prolific writer in college. He once argued that a fraternity that held a ‘ghetto party’ wasn’t being racist. He compared the collection of race data in college admissions to Germany under Adolf Hitler. And he wrote that multicultural education, “was never about understanding non-Western cultures” but “about denigrating Western culture to promote self-esteem among ‘marginalized’ groups.”
He also wrote to criticize “Take Back the Night” marches, claiming that the marches “charge the majority of male students with complicity in rape and sexual violence (every man’s a potential rapist, they say, it’s part of the patriarchal culture.)” He went on to write that “women may be the majority, they may be the beneficiaries of special academic programs and institutional support, but they remain, by definition, an oppressed minority.”
More recently, Menashi favorably shared the false story that General Pershing executed Muslims by shooting them with bullets dipped in pig’s fat—an Islamophobic myth also trafficked by President Trump.